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By Rich Handley

Cisco Invests in Smart-City Solutions for Integration of Autonomous Vehicles

Cisco has recently invested $1 million in smart-city technology for the City of Adelaide to help reduce traffic congestion and create the foundation for the deployment of autonomous vehicles on busy roads. The pilot, carried out in partnership with the Government of South Australia and the City of Adelaide, measured the dwell times and queue lengths of vehicles as they waited at an intersection—a key element for congestion monitoring. It also calculated rolling averages across the day via a customized dashboard and a suite of metrics that showed how well the traffic light sequences operated at that intersection.

Built on Cisco Kinetic for Cities, an Internet of Things (IoT) operations platform designed to harness data from billions of connected devices, the pilot was split into two phases. During the first phase, six sensors were set up at the busy intersection of Grenfell and Pulteney. These sensors gathered intersection-approach traffic information, such as the location and speed of vehicles, as well as pedestrians. With this information, tailored algorithms to recommend traffic light intervals can be recommended to improve traffic and pedestrian-crossing flow.

The second phase involved an assessment of whether the same infrastructure could be applied to quickly and accurately determine the locations and movements of autonomous vehicles, which is critical to being able to manage, direct and control such vehicles. The pilot lasted a week, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2018. Following the successful trial, other intersections in Adelaide will be selected to potentially test and scale the solution city-wide, followed by a national rollout.

"Traffic congestion in Australia's cities is getting worse," said Kevin Bloch, the chief technology officer of Cisco Australia & New Zealand, in a prepared statement, "and we need to act now before autonomous vehicles join our already busy roads. We're very excited to partner with the City of Adelaide and the SA Government and analyze the results of this pilot. We believe this technology could have a real impact on drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in Adelaide, and other cities, because its traffic light network will be able to make real-time decisions."

"We are pleased that Cisco has chosen Adelaide to develop and trial its smart city technology," said Science and Information Economy Minister Kyam Maher in the prepared statement. "It's a vote of confidence in our growing innovation ecosystem and boosts our reputation as a global leader in adopting smart technologies and smart solutions. The South Australian Government remains focused on establishing Adelaide as a dynamic and liveable smart city underpinned by robust innovation initiatives, digital infrastructure and support programs to help local business and entrepreneurs thrive."

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